What is Sales Enablement?

OK, the Boilers just broke my heart, they just couldn't get over the hump....anyway...

I want to delve into a topic that I reference often, but have not yet described, that is Sales Enablement. Sales Enablement has garnered quite a large amount of buzz in organizations across the globe, and this is a good thing. The best definition I have heard for Sales Enablement is this: SE is the ability to get the right information to the right person at the right time in the sales cycle. Seems simple enough right? Then why is it many organizations have not put focus on this until recently?

For years companies have been mandating better sales performance, they have put in place CRM systems, put money into training systems and placed quotas on sales people. If you can succeed great, if not the cycle repeats itself and organizations continue the cycle of losing money while new reps are ramping. Smart companies have realised that an investment into enabling their revenue generating teams can help break this cycle and can put their reps in a position to have better, more informed conversations.

Think about it - if you are a sales rep do you feel like you are equipped to handle every potential conversation that can present itself on every sales call? Do you have the best most accurate competitive information and product information? Are your sales materials designed in a way that enable you to have the right conversation based on who you are talking to, the vertical they are in and the right point in the sales cycle? Jeff Summers, COO at SAVO wrote a great piece on utilizing sales enablement that explains this facet.

As budgets continue to get tighter, and in some instances, revenue generating teams get downsized it is important for organizations to look within their own walls for ways to better position themselves for success. If a company can capture the best insights, best practices and sales techniques from their top sellers and make this information easily accessible to others on the sales team they are positioning their other sellers for success.

It is not about who has the flashiest sell sheets or slickest PowerPoint deck, this is not going to help you win the deal if it is not relevant to your prospect. Your prospect has needs, and unless you can find away to connect with those needs and solve their problems there is no chance you are going to close the deal. You need to figure out their pain points and explain how your solution aligns with these needs - you can no longer lead with product.

I don't want to just put this all on the sales team - we marketers need to play a bigger role in enabling sales. We can create all the collateral in the world, but if it is not useful to sales, are we useful? We need to open the lines of communications and find out what is working for our sales teams and build our marketing strategy around this. Sales Enablement only works when it is a complete team effort.

More and more companies are putting forth the resources toward better Sales Enablement - is yours? How well is your team positioned for success? 

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